The school holidays are almost over, which means that our first thought every morning is about to revert to:
What am I going to put in the lunchboxes today?
What’s in the fridge?
Do we have any veggies left?
Are we out of bread… again?!
In the last few years, I’ve been perfecting the ‘art’ of making easy, nutritious lunches for my boys.
Making lunches isn’t always fun or inspiring, but kids need plenty of fresh and healthy food to keep them going, growing and learning.
So here are some of my best tips to turn you from a school lunch-making wannabe to a school lunch-making celeb. Zig-a-zig-ah!
It’s important for kids to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, and preparing lunches isn’t a small job. Just like any other job, it helps to be organised.
I know that when our fridge is running low or I need to search around for containers in the morning rush, it makes it more stressful!
It can help to write a list of foods you will need for lunches BEFORE doing your grocery shopping.
It’s also a good time to think about new foods you could try in the lunchbox. Check out new recipes and ask your kids for ideas.
Make sure you have all the containers you need and a variety of foods available to save time.
Before you go to bed, have a peek in the fridge and make a plan. Get a few things ready. You’ll wake up feeling organised.
If you find yourself running out of time in the morning, you can get a head start the night before.
You can boil eggs, cut veggies, pack leftovers or snacks, fill water bottles, line up your containers or make a sandwich in the evening and sort out the rest in the morning.
A little preparation can make a big difference.
I love including homemade muffins, quiches, muesli bars and bliss balls in school lunches, but baking can be time consuming.
Set aside some time on the weekend to bake goodies in big batches and freeze them.
By baking every so often and keeping those nutritious snacks in the freezer, you’ll have plenty of variety for the lunchbox and won’t need to rely on packaged snacks.
Bake in big batches and keep a variety of healthy homemade snacks in the freezer.
Leftover meat served cold is super versatile. Mix leftover cooked steak or chicken with fresh veggies to make a quick, healthy salad. Use leftover meat for sandwiches or just as is with veggies on the side.
Leftover rice, quinoa, pasta and baked vegetables can also be used cold in the lunch box and turned into salads that are both yummy and filling.
Cold homemade pizza is also a favourite at our house.
Of course, a hot food container is a must if you want to be able to re-heat your leftovers in the morning for a ready-made meal.
Making lunches can feel like groundhog day.
Including a lot of variety in the lunchbox is important for your child to be well nourished and expand their taste preferences, but it can also make packing lunches less boring! Check out our 5 easy (yet healthy) lunch box ideas to kick-start your imagination.
Adding variety doesn’t need to be complicated - it can be swapping bread for a wrap, trying a new cheese, cutting vegetables differently, using seasonal fruit and veggies, adding a new spread or vegetable to your child’s favourite sandwich, or making sandwiches come to life.
Think of all the foods you eat at home that haven’t yet made it in the lunchbox – that’s a great way of finding new ideas and adding variety!